Guide Nothing Comes Out (The Horrible Truth Book 1)

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It is precisely for that reason that it proves an effective tool for the analysis and communication of ideas and arguments. The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool. Arguing from consequences is speaking for or against the truth of a statement by appealing to the consequences of accepting or rejecting it.

Just because a proposition leads to some unfavorable result does not mean that it is false. Similarly, just because a proposition has good consequences does not all of a sudden make it true. In the case of good consequences, an argument may appeal to an audience's hopes, which at times take the form of wishful thinking.

In the case of bad consequences, such an argument may instead appeal to an audience's fears. One should keep in mind that such arguments are fallacious only when they deal with propositions with objective truth values, and not when they deal with decisions or policies [Curtis], such as a politician opposing the raising of taxes for fear that it will adversely impact the lives of constituents, for example.

A straw man argument is usually one that is more absurd than the actual argument, making it an easier target to attack and possibly luring a person towards defending the more ridiculous argument rather than the original one. For example, My opponent is trying to convince you that we evolved from monkeys who were swinging from trees; a truly ludicrous claim. This is clearly a misrepresentation of what evolutionary biology claims, which is the idea that humans and chimpanzees shared a common ancestor several million years ago.

Misrepresenting the idea is much easier than refuting the evidence for it. An appeal to authority is an appeal to one's sense of modesty [Engel], which is to say, an appeal to the feeling that others are more knowledgeable. While this is a comfortable and natural tendency for humans, such appeals cannot tell us which things are true and which are false. All appeals to authority are a type of genetic fallacy. Experts do not have the characteristic of producing absolute truth. To determine truth from untruth we must rely on evidence and reason.

However, appeals to relevant authority can tell us which things are likely to be true. This is the means by which we form beliefs. The overwhelming majority of the things that we believe in, such as atoms and the solar system, are on reliable authority, as are all historical statements, to paraphrase C. It is fallacious to form a belief when the appeal is to an authority who is not an expert on the issue at hand. A similar appeal worth noting is the appeal to vague authority, where an idea is attributed to a vague collective.

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For example, Professors in Germany showed such and such to be true. Another type of appeal to irrelevant authority is the appeal to ancient wisdom, where something is assumed to be true just because it was believed to be true some time ago. For example, Astrology was practiced by technologically advanced civilizations such as the Ancient Chinese. Therefore, it must be true.

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One might also appeal to ancient wisdom to support things that are idiosyncratic, or that may change with time. Such appeals need to weigh the evidence that is available to us in the present. Equivocation exploits the ambiguity of language by changing the meaning of a word during the course of an argument and using the different meanings to support some conclusion.

A word whose meaning is maintained throughout an argument is described as being used univocally. Consider the following argument: How can you be against faith when we take leaps of faith all the time, with friends and potential spouses and investments? In one context, it may be used as a word that seeks cause , which as it happens is the main driver of science, and in another it may be used as a word that seeks purpose and deals with morals and gaps, which science may well not have answers to.

For example, one may argue: Science cannot tell us why things happen. Why do we exist?

Why be moral? A false dilemma is an argument that presents a set of two possible categories and assumes that everything in the scope of that which is being discussed must be an element of that set. If one of those categories is rejected, then one has to accept the other. For example, In the war on fanaticism, there are no sidelines; you are either with us or with the fanatics.

In reality, there is a third option, one could very well be neutral; and a fourth option, one may be against both; and even a fifth option, one may empathize with elements of both. In The Strangest Man , it is mentioned that physicist Ernest Rutherford once told his colleague Niels Bohr a parable about a man who bought a parrot from a store only to return it because it didn't talk. You wanted a parrot that talks. Please forgive me. I gave you the parrot that thinks. The fallacy assumes a cause for an event where there is no evidence that one exists. Two events may occur one after the other or together because they are correlated, by accident or due to some other unknown event; one cannot conclude that they are causally connected without evidence.

The recent earthquake was due to people disobeying the king is not a good argument. With the latter, because an event happens at the same time as another, it is said to have caused it. Here is an example paraphrased from comedian Stewart Lee: I can't say that because in I did a drawing of a robot and then Star Wars came out, then they must have copied the idea from me. Here is another one that I recently saw in an online forum: The attacker took down the railway company's website and when I checked the schedule of arriving trains, what do you know, they were all delayed! The fallacy plays on the fears of an audience by imagining a scary future that would be of their making if some proposition were accepted.

Rather than provide evidence to show that a conclusion follows from a set of premisses, which may provide a legitimate cause for fear, such arguments rely on rhetoric, threats or outright lies. For example, I ask all employees to vote for my chosen candidate in the upcoming elections. If the other candidate wins, he will raise taxes and many of you will lose your jobs. Here is another example, drawn from the novel, The Trial : You should give me all your valuables before the police get here. They will end up putting them in the storeroom and things tend to get lost in the storeroom.

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Here, although the argument is more likely a threat, albeit a subtle one, an attempt is made at reasoning. An appeal to fear may proceed to describe a set of terrifying events that would occur as a result of accepting a proposition, which has no clear causal links, making it reminiscent of a slippery slope.

It may also provide one and only one alternative to the proposition being attacked, that of the attacker, in which case it would be reminiscent of a false dilemma. This fallacy is committed when one generalizes from a sample that is either too small or too special to be representative of a population. For example, asking ten people on the street what they think of the president's plan to reduce the deficit can in no way be said to represent the sentiment of the entire nation. Although convenient, hasty generalizations can lead to costly and catastrophic results.

For instance, it may be argued that the engineering assumptions that led to the explosion of the Ariane 5 during its first launch were the result of a hasty generalization: the set of test cases that were used for the Ariane 4 controller were not broad enough to cover the necessary set of use-cases in the Ariane 5 's controller. Signing off on such decisions typically comes down to engineers' and managers' ability to argue, hence the relevance of this and similar examples to our discussion of logical fallacies.

Such an argument assumes a proposition to be true simply because there is no evidence proving that it is not. Hence, absence of evidence is taken to mean evidence of absence. The burden-of-proof always lies with the person making a claim.

Moreover, and as several others have put it, one must ask what is more likely and what is less likely based on evidence from past observations. Is it more likely that an object flying through space is a man-made artifact or a natural phenomenon, or is it more likely that it is aliens visiting from another planet?

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Since we have frequently observed the former and never the latter, it is therefore more reasonable to conclude that UFOs are unlikely to be aliens visiting from outer space. A specific form of the appeal to ignorance is the argument from personal incredulity, where a person's inability to imagine something leads to a belief that the argument being presented is false. For example, It is impossible to imagine that we actually landed a man on the moon, therefore it never happened. Responses of this sort are sometimes wittily countered with, That's why you're not a physicist.

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A general claim may sometimes be made about a category of things. When faced with evidence challenging that claim, rather than accepting or rejecting the evidence, such an argument counters the challenge by arbitrarily redefining the criteria for membership into that category. For example, one may posit that programmers are creatures with no social skills. The ambiguity allows the stubborn mind to redefine things at will. The fallacy was coined by Antony Flew in his book Thinking about Thinking.

An argument's origins or the origins of the person making it have no effect whatsoever on the argument's validity. A genetic fallacy is committed when an argument is either devalued or defended solely because of its history. Edward Damer points out, when one is emotionally attached to an idea's origins, it is not always easy to disregard the former when evaluating the latter.

Consider the following argument, Of course he supports the union workers on strike; he is after all from the same village. Here, rather than evaluating the argument based on its merits, it is dismissed because the person happens to come from the same village as the protesters.

That piece of information is then used to infer that the person's argument is therefore worthless. Here is another example: As men and women living in the 21st century, we cannot continue to hold these Bronze Age beliefs. Why not, one may ask. We name the hated strangers and are thus confirmed in the tribe.

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You must never look away from this. You must always remember that the sociology, the history, the economics, the graphs, the charts, the regressions all land, with great violence, upon the body. But unlike his columns at The Atlantic , here he has no clear thesis. Although less directed, this ends up feeling far more powerful. It was what books were made for: an opportunity to inhabit, albeit briefly, the mind and experiences of another person, and to exercise our muscle to expand our empathy.

He made a killing in the 80s, but did so because he developed an unconventional philosophy around finance and trading: to bet on the most unexpected occurrence possible, that the entire market is random and anyone who believed they had any sort of skill or predictive power was merely deluding themselves and would eventually go broke. And although the book primarily uses financial markets in its examples, the concepts and principles have wide applications in life as well.

Taleb shows us that much of what we think we know — about skill about success, about important figures in history, even about mundane things such as dietary habits, athletic performance or business success — is to largely be the product of chance. First, it delivers the fatal bullet rather infrequently, like a revolver that would have hundreds, even thousands of chambers instead of six.

After a few dozen tries, one forgets about the existence of a bullet, under a numbing false sense of security. Second, unlike a well-defined precise game like Russian roulette, where the risks are visible to anyone capable of multiplying and dividing by six, one does not observe the barrel of reality. How it will make you a less horrible person : It will hopefully humble you. It will show you that many of the greatest qualities you assume about yourself are likely deluded or, at best, the result of a streak of luck.